Supermarket more risky than football: Steve Bruce on strict play guidelines

AFP
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce does not believe his players will be ready for a return to football until the end of June. Photo: AFP

Newcastle Manager Steve Bruce has said that going to the supermarket or petrol station was riskier than the return to football as strict measures have been put in place to protect players.

However, Bruce warned his squad could "fall down like a pack of cards" with injuries if they are not given enough preparation time to get back up to speed before matches restart.

The UK government gave the go ahead for sport behind closed doors from June 1 this week.

Newcastle last played on March 7 and Bruce believes his players will not be fit to return until the end of June.

The Premier League is reportedly hoping for a restart on June 12.

"You have to remember that they have had eight weeks off and that is probably the longest break some of these players have had in their careers," he told the Sunday Telegraph.

"If we were doing pre-season, we would have six weeks and probably have six friendly games to get them ready for the first league match.

"We need enough preparation to get these players into shape or they are just going to fall down like a pack of cards.

"Most of the managers have the same concerns. We would need at least six weeks. I don't see how we can play games until the back end of June."

Germany's Bundesliga became the first of Europe's top five leagues to return on Saturday with a series of measures including regular testing, disinfected balls and substitutes wearing masks to protect players.

Premier League clubs are hoping for a return to socially distanced training on Tuesday once a protocol of safety measures has been signed off at a meeting on Monday.

"Certainly, the measures being put in place, you're probably more at risk going to the supermarket or putting petrol in your car," added Bruce.

"We are in a fortunate position, we can get tested every three days.

"We will be tested on Sunday, every player and every member of staff. Once we get the results back, if everybody is OK, we are pencilled to start training again at 2pm on Tuesday afternoon."

Supermarket more risky than football: Steve Bruce on strict play guidelines